A Bossier judge Monday will hear arguments on why a local attorney believes the April 21st Bossier Parish School Board election should be voided.
26th Judicial District Judge Jeff Cox will hear attorney John Settle's arguments as to why he believes the entire election should be tossed at 8:45 a.m. Monday at the Benton Courthouse.
The lawsuit, which names the Bossier Parish School Board, Tom Shedler, Louisiana Secretary of State, Angie Rogers, Commissioner of Elections and Registration as defendants, claims school websites and school employees were used to promote the passage of the three measures.
Only one of the three proposals - a tax renewal of an ad valorem tax to fund a proposed $210 million construction bond package - passed.
The other two, one for staff pay increases and the other for new technology, failed.
Along with filing the lawsuit, Settle submitted a list of witnesses he has subpoenaed to testify. That list includes: Bobby Edmiston, Bossier Parish Tax Assessor; D.C. Machen, superintendent of Bossier Schools; Sonya Bailes, public relations liaison, Bossier Schools; Scott Smith, assistant superintendent of Bossier Schools; Scott Hughes, director, Alliance for Education; Terrie Johnson, Elm Grove Middle School; Rhonda Schnell, Stockwell Place School; and David Thrash, Bossier High School.
In an unusual move for a public body involved in litigation, D.C. Machen, school superintendent, released a statement claiming the lawsuit will somehow perpetuate overcrowding in the schools, and also will hamper the school board's ability to get low interest rates.
The entire statement is as follows:
"On April 21, 2012, the voters of Bossier Parish spoke by supporting the School Board's request for a $210 million bond referendum to alleviate overcrowding by building new schools and making other needed improvements across the district.
"We are grateful for the public's vote of confidence and for its awareness of our growth needs. Bossier Parish has been blessed with an ever-increasing population and our schools have experienced a corresponding growth in student enrollment.
"While we understand the law allows a citizen to file certain legal challenges, we are confident the public's desire for better schools, as represented by the election results, will be upheld.
"We are concerned, however, that any delay in the building program due to such a lawsuit only perpetuates the problem we are having with overcrowding at our schools and jeopardizes the opportunity the BPSB has to take advantage of historically low bond interest rates. This lawsuit has the potential to jeopardize seizing those rates and thus, much needed school improvements, because taxpayer dollars will simply not go as far."